Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas 2008 Services and Events

His birth breaks all the rules...

Please take a minute to read the quote from Frederick Buechner which is on the back cover of this newsletter.
I greatly admire Buechner for his phrasing of words which bring an idea to life and his deeply grounded faith
in Jesus Christ which teaches me about what is important.

When the beep sounds, please read Buechner’s words. Beep!

It is so easy to lose track of what Christmas is all about. What a miracle it was when Jesus was born a help-
less child, and a miracle for us today. Sometimes, we miss the significance of Christmas because we are out
shopping for gifts, or making cookies for a cookie swap. We get distracted by the worries of the financial
situation and the fear of disappointment in family interactions. All of these things are important, in and of
themselves, but when piled on top of each other, pressure and non-stop activity demand all of our time and

What Buechner is telling us is that part of the significance of the birth of Jesus is that it broke all the rules. Up
until then God could be expected to be in the holiest of holies in the Temple, in the ritual sacrifices and prac-
tices, and in the law. But when God became human and entered the world as a helpless infant, the precedent
was set for God to show up anywhere in our lives. That serves as a warning to those of us trying to run from
God because we would rather be self-sufficient and independent. It also serves as a promise to those of us who
seem to loose track of what is important that God won’t let us stay there.

Maybe it will be at the end of a long day as we are fulfilling our obligation to write just one more Christmas
card when we will realize how God worked through that friend to comfort and care for us. Or maybe it will be
in the loneliness of the changing family dynamics around us that we sense God has never left our side.
The theme of our Advent season here at the Northwood Congregational Church is expectation. Expecting that
there will be holiness in this season. Expecting that God will again enter our lives as we celebrate how he en-
tered our world. Expecting that there can be hope, peace, love, and joy even when it is scarce in world around
us. We can expect rather than wish because God’s promise to us is that God will be with us always. We may
loose track, but God never does. We may disappoint each other and therefore disappoint God, but God will
never reject us. The world may be falling apart, but we have the promise that this is not the way it will remain
because God will have the ultimate victory.

You are treading on holy ground as you enter this time of Advent. Holy ground because we will never know
when it is that we will catch that glimpse of grace. Holy ground because it becomes fertile in the waiting for
the blessing of God. Holy ground because when we walk it we will be awed by the God we will meet.

Advent blessings to you all.